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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prehistoric Mis-Timing?

cicada shell
What is this? Am I working on my own version of Jurassic Park? Not exactly, but it is very strange. Not so strange in what it is-- it's the shed skin of the final nymph instar of the cicada. In this picture, it really looks like it came from another planet, don't you think?

What's strange is that it doesn't belong here this year. Cicadas spend most of their lives underground. The emerge from the ground and fly around mating and laying eggs once every so often. Some species are seen once every 17 years, others have a 13-year cycle. There is no brood that is supposed to emerge in Michigan in 2011. This means that this one individual has somehow gotten out of sync.

Here's the back view of the skin- you can see the split in the back where the winged adult emerged.

cicada shell

I can't tell what species this is from just the shell. Maybe experts can. The genus is Magicicada. Indiana and Illinois are supposed to have emergences this year, so maybe this is a stray.

17-Year Cicadas


Glynis said...

Ugh, looks like the Molecrickets we get here. I preferred the blue butterfly in your previous post!

Cicada Skin said...

nice capture

vanilla said...

We gots 'em.

When I was a kid, we used to collect a bunch of these, build "corrals" and play rancher.

Umihoney said...

Thank you for sharing the pix and info. I am living in the tropics, so bugs are all around, night and day.
They are interesting creatures that are important to our eco system.

Take care. Have a great week ahead

Emma Springfield said...

I remember as a little girl gathering the cicada shells from trees and telephone poles. I have no idea why I thought I could save them by putting them in the back pocket of my jeans. But I just kept putting them in my storage pocket. Suddenly something started to pinch my bottom and I began to scream. I had picked a shell that wasn't empty yet!

rainfield61 said...

Its biological clock has gone wrong!!

spinninglovelydays said...

How bad am I at this identification thing? At first glance, I thought it was a frog with some kind of fungus growth, lol

Dave D said...

I believe there are some cicadas every year but there are a lot more in the cycle years. Last time we had a good year, we ate some of's been a while so I don't remember how we cooked them...but it was interesting.

Ratty said...

As common as cicadas are, I've never seen one. The picture makes it look huge. It really does look like something from Jurassic Park.

Kloggers/Polly said...

Oh - never seen one before .. reminds me a little bit of a bed bug or fat paper mite. They are noisy though, if memory serves me right?

RNSANE said...

Oh, my goodness, Shark, I do not love these critters. To me, they look absolutely horrid and, if a critter like this landed near me, I would go absolutely bonkers!

Sharkbytes said...

Glynis- well, you are right. it does look like a mole cricket. But this isn't the final stage for the cicada

Hi Foto- they really are interesting, so when there is an emergence i bet there are lots of pix taken.

vanilla- yup, Indiana is supposed to get a brood emergence this year

hi umihoney- this is just about the largest insect we get here. The adults can be 2-3 inches long, so we are always impressed.

Emma- that's funny! I would like to get a video of one emerging some day.

rainfield- somehow...

ivy- well, i took a super closeup that gives a different perspective than we usually see

dave- thanks for stopping by. I'm sure you are right, but we seldom see any except in their proper years.

ratty- i know that the next time around you'll be observant enough to see lots

polly- i wonder if you have them. not sure. they are very noisy!

carmen- this phase could not land near you. these can only crawl up a stem and then split open. the adult looks sort of like a huge winged fly. They sing, but don't bite or pinch or anything nasty. they are quite lovely.

Ann said...

oh my, that's the ugliest looking thing I've ever

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